I’m sure I’m not the only person who has drunk terrible wine in a bag in a box. For decades, this was the stuff of poor college students – cheap, larger than a bottle, fresher staying than bottles, and did I mention cheap? These days, wine is being packaged in all sorts of ways, including boxes. But gone are those terrible days when wine in a box meant mass produced Franzia. Several of these alternatively packaged wines are excellent, award-winning even, wines. Here are some alternatives to bottles you should check out and why.
Bandit Wines has got the right idea. TWO of them, actually. First, corks and bottles are expensive. Second, corks and glass aren’t very eco-friendly. So Bandit Wines ditched the bottles and is able to offer better quality wine at better prices while also giving the earth a break. Wine bottles are heavy and take up more room than tetra packs and also don’t pack as well. Tetra packs (juice boxes) are lighter, easier to pack without empty space, and don’t require extra packaging because they’re not glass. The result? Ship more wine, at less weight – using less gas! They offer several different varietals and blends:
- Pinot Grigio
- Red Blend
Bandit has brought home more than one award and most who drink it, love it. There are several varietals to choose from and it’s available at places like Target.
Boxes are available in 500ML and 1L sizes. Find Bandit wine near you using their handy online locator or purchase it online!
Sippin’ Wine Through Straws
Francis Ford Coppola Winery is known for its Sophia line, the filmmaker’s tribute to his daughter. In a brilliant move, the winemaker decided to do something completely unexpected and package the Sophia Blanc de Blancs, the sparkling rosé, in a can. These single serving cans are pink, adorable, and a smart way to package sparklers because there is no risk of going flat. The pink cans come in single servings or you can get a package of four single serving cans. And each comes with a matching straw. Before you get nervous…
A few words on drinking through a straw
Many people, especially college students, believe that drinking through a straw gets you drunk faster. While there is sound science behind the belief, there has been no proof of this (and yes, it’s been tested). That said, there are a few logical reasons why people might think this – first being that people tend to drink faster when drinking through a straw and therefore consume more in a shorter amount of time and thus likely drinking more over the course of an evening. You should always monitor how much you are drinking, whether through a straw or not, and the speed at which you drink. A small can of sparkling rosé is not going to have a huge difference when drunk through a straw at a reasonable rate. In this case, drinking it through a straw is the best option as it will keep the fizz fresh!
On Serving Sizes
Despite the huge wine glasses available, the appropriate serving size for a glass of wine is five ounces. That’s about 100 calories and the equivalent of less than a half of a serving of beer. Drinking more than this is fine, but remember that a serving isn’t necessarily the same as a pour in a restaurant, or that you do in your own kitchen.
Space Age Metal Bottles
In recent years, wine snobbery has been balanced by a fair amount of wine kitsch, including the bottle shaped, screw top can found holding Mommesin Beaujolais Grande Reserve. Made from 100% Gamay, this red is meant to be served at a cooler temp and the bottle has polka dots – one of which indicates that the can is cold enough to drink. The metal “bottle” is adorned with all sorts of cutesy stuff that looks like it would be at home on a bottle of shampoo. That said, the wine itself is excellent and, let’s face it, the cooldot® is a heck of a lot more fiscally smart than a wine fridge.
We’ll get into this more in the next installment of our Wine 100 Series of educational posts but if you’ve been keeping your reds at room temp and serving them there, you might want to chill them. While white is definitely served cold, red wines are meant to be served cooler than we’re led to believe by popular culture. Here are the two ways to get your red wines to the right serving temperature if you don’t have a wine fridge:
- Keep reds in your refridgerator and take them out 1-2 hours before serving so that they warm up a little but are not room temperature.
- No room in your fridge? Store unopened reds in the pantry or another cool, dark spot and pop a bottle into the fridge for an hour or two before serving.
Your reds will taste better when served cooler and the time out of the fridge also gives you the perfect amount of time to decant – decanting is always a good idea with reds as it opens the wines tremendously.
It’s not going to save you any room but it does allow for keeping a large amount of wine on hand and on tap. Temperature control could be an issue, but if you have room keep it in the fridge. Then break out Sonoma’s Red Truck California Red Blend mini barrel. The mini barrel holds three liters of wine and while the space saving clearly isn’t there, the winemaker claims that it has “less than half the footprint of glass” and that the barrel is almost 100% recyclable.
Whether you choose to drink from the traditional bottle with a real or synthetic cork, screw cap, crown cap or any other closure or move to an alternative the fact is that there are plenty of available options for getting your wine in something other than a bottle. Tetra packs, especially small ones like Bandit Wines offers and soda can styles are perfect for picnics. And for those of us who love bubbles, there’s really nothing better to have on hand than the soda can style: no more avoiding popping a cork for fear that you won’t finish the bottle.